Visit 'The Garden of England' with Local Guide Yvonne

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The south of England is in many ways a microcosm of the nation. As our local Kentish guide Yvonne explains below, it’s a land rich in history, castles, coastal and rural scenery, and the charming staples of British food culture. Planning to visit? Take a look at Yvonne’s suggestions below. But be warned: if Kent isn’t already on your travel itinerary, it might be by the time you’re done reading!

Living in the Kent countryside between Canterbury and the medieval town of Sandwich, and just twenty minutes from the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, it would be difficult not to have a passion for the heritage, scenery and local colour, and want to share it with visitors travelling into this county known as ‘The Garden of England.’

When HM Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her Silver Jubilee, back in 1977, I was a young teenager working for a coach company, and had the privilege of visiting Windsor during the celebrations and meeting some of the London Blue Badge Tourist Guides in action. I was completely hooked, no looking back, and so was a graduate from the first ever South East Blue Badge Course in 1981. My one year old daughter was a captive audience for listening and learning!

Kent is a wonderful mix of cities, coast and countryside, 40 minutes from London by train and a similar distance from France through the Channel Tunnel. There’s something for everyone. I feel as if looking at Kent is like looking at English history through the wrong end of a microscope – indeed where England begins and began.

There is something timeless and magical about standing up on the White Cliffs of Dover, looking across a harbour which was the base for the Roman fleet in British waters, 2000 years ago, and seeing Dover Castle, the cliffs, harbour and, on a clear day, the coast of France. What a photo opportunity! Even shrouded in sea mists, it is atmospheric and unique.

Follow the coast around to the Thames Estuary, and stop to enjoy the oysters which the coastal town of Whitstable is famous for. Carry on your journey inland and into Faversham – to taste the famous cherries and apples, fresh from the orchards. Stop to savour the local beers from Faversham’s own brewery (the oldest in England).

Kent is proud of its local produce, wonderful pork with apples, Romney Marsh lamb, and fresh fish, and vegetables and fruit from the many market gardens. To complement any menu, there are wonderful home produced ciders, beers and award winning wines from the Kentish vineyards.

Canterbury is just one of the jewels in Kent’s crown, but to wander the ancient streets, following in the footsteps of visitors across the ages, and, perhaps pause for Evensong in the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral, is a peaceful and thought provoking experience.

Then there are wonderful castles, such as Leeds Castle, known as ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World’ and Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn. In more modern times, we can find Secret (WW2) Wartime Tunnels, and even Chartwell, the country home of our wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

Kent is somewhere special to visit: the only problem is that there just might not be enough hours in the day!

Yvonne will make sure you squeeze the most out of your time in her home county. To get in touch and plan your perfect day in Kent, send Yvonne a message through her guide profile page.
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